Autonauts (itch)

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Monday 11th June 2018








These are just some of many questions we get asked on a regular basis, which isn’t surprising (not least given Gary’s love of raw Brussels sprouts). As you can see from our irregular GIF updates, we are still working on Autonauts.

Aaron and Gary love to cosplay while they work on Autonauts inside Autonauts. Pity they can’t automate making the game really.

Why is it taking so long to release another playable version?

We know that Autonauts is proving to be a fun little collection of new ideas to play with. But we also know that it’s not yet exactly a cohesive, accessible experience. Although we set an exciting precedent for weekly updates, this was actually holding us back when it came to making any big, game-changing decisions, so that had to stop. We want to make sure the next version has a structure for you to care about: short- and long-term objectives, achievements, a meaningful tech tree, and so on. This takes time.

But you said "early 2018!"

Yes. Yes we did. And when early 2018 came along and we played what we’d made, we just weren't happy that Autonauts was the experience we wanted to share. We felt that if we released the next version too soon, we’d risk making things irreversibly worse for everyone.

Well, what HAVE you been doing then?

Besides toughening up the foundations and adding all the new goodies you've seen in our posts, we've been trying to raise more funds for development, which we want to spend on improving the art and audio. We’ve also been talking to publishers because we realise that we're not so good at getting the word out about Autonauts, whereas publishers live and breathe that stuff, so we could do with their help.

Moreover, it’s taken a while for us to assemble this first draft of the ‘technology tree timeline’ for the Autonauts ‘Campaign’ mode (and we’re still working on it), but it was essential to help us to get a clearer idea of what needs to be built and automated in the game, and how it fits in to a bigger picture. Hopefully this will also help you get a sense of just how much there will be to play with subsequent updates. You can view the latest technology tree timeline here:

So what now?

Once we're happy we've added enough substance to give you a proper game, we want to launch on Steam Early Access. (For the record, anyone who’s donated £20 or more for the Pre-Pre-Pre-Alpha version on will automatically own this new version and all future updates.)

From there we'll roll out monthly updates and continue to evolve the Autonauts timeline, adding more to the tech tree so you can keep developing your colonies. Although not as exhilarating as weekly updates, doing this monthly means we can still make bigger changes when necessary.

So when exactly will the next playable version be released?

As soon as we can manage. Yes, that’s annoyingly vague, but there’s still a lot for us to sort out beforehand and we’re doing all we can to get that done ASAP. We’ll give you another update on the release status in a month’s time or if there are any significant changes before that.


The latest stable version of Autonauts is 21.2, with or without lighting depending on your video card :)

The Change Log for all versions to date can be viewed HERE.

Who or what are the Autonauts?

The 'Automationauts' (to give them their fuller, grander, longerwindeder title) travel the universe with the sole goal of setting worlds in motion through the power of automation.

They harness whatever natural resources are available; they learn fast and can eventually make pretty much anything from anything. But their most important creations are workerbots, which can be made from the crudest of materials and taught to do anything an Autonaut can do so they can get on with helping species evolve.


This pre-pre-pre-Alpha release is lacking refinement and presentation - and it can take some getting into - but under the rough edges there's a great example of what we're doing and where we're going.

How to Play

Use a combination of mouse and keyboard.

  • WASD or SHIFT+RMB or Middle Mouse button to pan the camera around.
  • Mousewheel zooms the camera in and out.
  • LMB tells your Autonaut where to go and what to do.
  • LMB also picks things up and makes things happen.
  • RMB drops things.
  • Z can be used for some things like instruments and signs.
  • Space blows your whistle so you can get the attention of workerbots.
  • I brings up your inventory: what's in your hands and your backpack; you can drag and drop objects between slots - and even trade with your workerbots. Holding Left Shift and clicking an object will automatically swap between hands /inventory or player/bot.
  • , and . (< and >) cycle forwards and backwards through your inventory (to swap the item in your hands).
  • / or Q stows the held item (assuming there's space in your inventory) so you can use your empty hands for other tasks.
  • H brings up the 'Hot Bar' so you can quickly swap items between your hands and your Inventory.
  • E brings up the Edit Menu, which is where you choose what to build; note that some things can only be built on flooring.
  • R rotates building blueprints clockwise, so you can choose which way they face.
  • RMB deletes a blueprint; DEL (fn-backspace on Mac) allows you to delete buildings once built (but only while in Edit Mode).
  • Esc pauses the game and brings up the Pause Menu, from where you can save and load progress.
  • C toggles 'Free Cam' on/off. Use WASD to move around, Q/E to move up and down and Left Shift to move faster; the Mouse Scroll Wheel zooms in/out; Up/Down Arrow changes movement speed.
  • X recentres the camera on you.

In this basic world you will find earth, sand, sea, fresh water, clay, rock, trees and cereal - and the resident folk, who are content to sit around in the buff, doing nothing.

And speaking of nothing, that's exactly what you start with. But from these humble beginnings you can build and automate an entire civilisation. Well, you can when the game's further along; for now you can only start a forestry and cereal farming, and provide shelter and food for the folk.

You can also make and teach robots how to do anything you can do, which is aces.

Please Note

Autonauts is so early in its development that we won't be able to guarantee the compatibility of saved games between versions (but we will do our best to minimise issues).

Also, the Linux version is still untested by us (because we don't have Linux) but feedback so far suggests that it's working well enough, so we'll keep supplying a Linux version with every update :)

Handy Quickstart Guide

So, yeah, this guide may well be creaking around the joints but it's still valid and useful :)

  1. Pick up a Stick, pick up a Stone and build a Crude Axe.
  2. Chop down some Trees.
  3. Go to the Edit Menu (E) and select 'Simple Flooring' blueprint; place two Simple Flooring blueprints down side by side.
  4. Build the Simple Flooring by putting Logs into it.
  5. Call up the Edit Menu again and select Crude Bench Saw blueprint; place one on the built flooring.
  6. Build the Crude Bench Saw by putting Logs and Planks into it (use your axe to chop Logs to make Planks).
  7. Add a 'Worker Assembler' blueprint (which doesn't need to be on the Simple Flooring).
  8. Use the Crude Bench Saw to make Planks and Poles for the Worker Assembler.
  9. Add a 'Basic Workbench' blueprint (you might need more Simple Flooring) and build it.
  10. Click the Basic Workbench and change it to output 'Crude Gear.'
  11. Stick a Plank into the Basic Workbench to get a Crude Gear out.
  12. Add the Crude Gear to the Worker Assembler along with Planks and Poles to make your first Workerbot.
  13. Press Space to whistle and select your Workerbot. 
  14. Click 'Trade' and put an Axe into its hand (you'll also need an axe for yourself).
  15. Click 'Teach' then chop a tree; click 'Repeat' and then 'Go' to get the Workerbot started.
  16. Sit back and enjoy watching your Workerbot chop trees forever (well, until its axe breaks).
  17. Now automate EVERYTHING!

If you still get stuck, don't forget to check out our YouTube playthrough of the first version from a million years ago, which we really really REALLY ought to update soon. And don't be shy: feel free to vent in the comments below or use the following official channels...

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Last Modified: Aug 26, 2019

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